The year is 2003.
I sat at home on my couch, exhausted, after having worked my first two weeks in the kitchen at Iron Hill Brewery. This was my first day off in two weeks and for those of you who know that back-of-house #kitchenlife, the day off after a period of straight hustle is precious.
Working at Iron Hill Brewery was my first real exposure to craft beer and I knew it was something I wanted to be involved in. With the day off after that two week madness, I found myself at Joe Canals Pennsauken. I picked up a three bottle variety pack from a sorta Belgian/sorta American brewery and a bottle of Sam Adams Triple Bock. The latter being the biggest mistake ever…NOT because of the quality of the beer, but because as a complete newb to craft beer, it wasn’t where to start. We have all been there. The Triple Bock was $9 a bottle and I allowed price to be the determining factor on what I thought I would like. I was wrong. And that variety pack containing a Belgian white, a Saison, and a Belgian amber was something I wasn’t prepared for. Overall, let’s say that next morning was a bad day for me: a day that included a mid-day hangover after forcibly consuming some high tier, high ABV beers that I couldn’t appreciate on that precious day off.
And let’s be honest, at that point in my life, Lite, Zima and Twisted Tea were my fermented friends, but I was looking to add to some interesting and original guys to that circle. So I went big. Bad idea. Very bad.
Reconciling with my hangover the next morning, I woke up with an appreciation for craft beer’s ability to market the variety pack and how it could change your vision on many things. Beer Goggles became not just about making that “cute” lonely girl attractive; but also about convincing me that bigger Belgian beers and pretty little blue bottles were what I needed to enjoy craft beer.
All wrong. Bad choices. Like I said, I couldn’t appreciate them. I was just trying to be craft “cool.”
The price. The bottle size. The label. The word of mouth around Iron Hill and certain beer nerd friends,
all were acceptable reasons for purchasing a beer. But really, I was duped. I didn’t buy just on the name. I went with the look of the label. The feel of the brand. NOT exactly what the brewers wanted.
And here I am today, 2015, completely spent, sitting on my couch sipping on our first batch of Weiss Wit. A much different set of beer googles are beginning to slide over my eyes from 12 years ago. There are a lot of breweries out there today. A lot of choices, some great, others interesting, some not so good but I can taste their potential. There are others though, and we all see it, that have built their business on having deeper pockets, worrying more about how to market a crappy beer than spending their money on what is put in the bottle. Sometimes I wish I had those beer goggles from 2003. It makes all their ugliness easier to swallow.
Taste it soon.